What is The Ranking of Latin American Universities?

By | 21 January, 2019

While checking the academic ranking of world universities, first, l verify Latin America university rankings to notice any change in position. Not a single Latin America university is able to hold the first position. The performance of universities is reported on the local papers. It impacts international students, faculty member, governments, and universities. The poor performance of Latin American universities in academic rankings made me ask a few questions. The criteria that decide the ranking of top universities are: teaching, outreach, and geared to research. These indicators do not suit the Latin America Universities. Therefore, they find it hard to get high rankings.

The ranking indicators take the world-class universities as the model. They focus more on the research than function or medical or natural sciences over others. However, universities in Latin America focus more on the essential functions and contribute to the cultural, territorial, and economic development of the countries. However, these are not the indicators of academic ranking.
Many public universities are not getting higher rankings since the assessment system does not suit their achievements. The international assessment system is unable to assess different universities of different countries. We cannot expect the same educational environment in all the universities across the globe. There will be some differences depending on the region.

Mario Rueda, director of the Research Institute on University and Education at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), said that Latin America Universities are able to answer the broader social expectations such as regional development contribution and social mobility. These universities do not get much financial support from the government and rely on tuition fees and other contributions.

Simon Schwartzman, a distinguished Brazilian social scientist has discovered three reasons for the poor international ranking of Latin American universities.

  • The assessment system is research-oriented and Latin America Universities are not research-intensive.
  • Rankings prefer English-speaking international community and Latin America universities are restricted within their region.
  • When it comes to the quality, the Latin America universities do not match the expectation.


The Latin American experts believe the international ranking assessment has some shortcomings. That is the major reason behind the failure of top universities to get higher academic rankings. They question the reliability of the international rankings. Francisco Marmolejo, the lead of the Global Solutions Group on Tertiary Education at the World Bank Group also believes the same. He said that the ranking assessment system is not only affecting Latin America Universities. Some other top universities are also not getting the desired ranking due to the assessment system. Some popular universities QS Latin America university and Buenos Aires UBA are finding hard to get better ranking due to poor ranking indicators.

Felipe Martínez Rizo of the Autonomous University of Aguascalientes in Mexico also believes that the ranking indicators are not enough to access a world university. After analyzing the ranking indicators of Shanghai and Times Higher Education ranking, Martínez said that methodology cannot evaluate top universities by using a few dimensions. While choosing the top 50 universities, it is important to focus on different aspects in addition to research.

What Makes Some Latin American Universities To Perform Better?

Some Latin American universities such as the UNAM and Sao Paulo do better in ranking. The reason for their better ranking is their good research infrastructure and highly competitive selective admission procedure.

Brazil has a good educational system since it follows the most up to date research. The University of Sao Paulo is the largest in the terms of Campinas UNICAMP and research methodology. Both these aspects are well-financed and selective. You will not find these facilities in most of the other universities. For this reason, only, these universities do not get higher rankings.

Brazil universities outperform other universities since they have a good research capacity. Many of these universities are popular for high-quality researches. In addition, Brazil invests more on the free public education that enables the country to achieve more in science. Other universities of different regions will have to develop their research quality to get better exposure as well as to better their academic rankings.

How to Improve the Ranking

According to the specialists, the rankings can be improved by the continuous effort of the universities. The problem with most of the universities is that their focus is more on to get higher rankings. Though the ranking plays an important role to determine a university’s educational status, still, they should focus more on the other aspects to develop research quality that will ultimately ensure better ranking.

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